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How to ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’

Four keys to letting go of distractions and turning your full attention to God.

Focus on God

A favorite hymn in our family urges the listener to “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”

It’s a beautiful sentiment. But how are we supposed to do that?

It was easy for Peter, right? He actually saw Jesus—with his natural eyes—walking on water. He asked Jesus to call him out onto the waves, and when Jesus did, Peter walked on water—until he was distracted by the storm raging around him. But what about us? How do we “turn our eyes upon Jesus?” I don’t think it’s all that different from Peter’s experience:

1) Ask for help from Jesus. 

Peter asked Jesus, “Master, if it’s really You, call me to come to You on the water” (Matthew 14:28, The Message). We can do that. Theologian Andrew Murray wrote, “What folly to think that all other blessings must come from Him, but that prayer, whereon everything else depends, must be obtained by personal effort! . . . Just as He will give all other grace to answer prayer, so, above all and before all, He will bestow the grace of a praying heart.” So ask Jesus to help you turn your gaze to Him

2) Turn away from your circumstances.

As Peter found out, you can’t “turn your eyes upon Jesus” and simultaneously watch the wind and waves. So, turn away from your circumstances. Stop fixating on your problems or the day’s newscast. Give it a rest. Or, rather, give yourself a rest from the things that stir up anxious thoughts. 

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3) Turn away from yourself. 

To use another metaphor, “Consider how the wild flowers grow” (Luke 12:27, NIV), as Jesus said. How do wildflowers grow? They don’t struggle or stress. They don’t “work” at growing. They don’t “look inward.” They turn toward the sun. They open themselves to the sun’s rays. So, turn to the Son in prayer and open yourself to Him. 

4) Close your eyes and focus.

Maybe you’ve been driving in the car, the radio blaring, when you wanted to be careful not to miss a turn or spot an address. What did you do? You turned off the radio! It may seem silly to some, but you knew that fewer distractions equals more focus—and better vision.

So it is with turning your eyes upon Jesus. Close your eyes, and you’ll see Him more clearly. Slow down and you’ll find Him more quickly. Seek him with the eyes of your heart, giving Him time to “enter your vision,” and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

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